Linn-Mar Looks Toward September Bond Vote
Linn-Mar Community School District is growing. Since 2005, total number of enrolled students has increased by 2,200, across all grade levels throughout the entire district. We are already running out of space.
A five-year plan, approved by the Linn-Mar Community School District’s Board of Education on Oct. 24, offers a solution.
Linn-Mar Community School District’s restructuring plan strategically addresses existing and long-term capacity issues at all grade levels in our rapidly growing district. To fund this five-year plan, the district will ask residents to vote on a bond referendum in September 2017 that will increase the property tax rate between $1.00 and $1.50 on every $1,000 of assessed value.
The restructuring plan is one piece of the district’s strategic plan, which also was approved by the School Board in October 2016 and is the result of more than a year of community and district input. Each of the six initiatives and measures of success are consistent with the three overall goals of Pathways (Student Learning), Facility Planning, and Technology and reinforce the school district’s Mission: Inspire Learning, Unlock Potential. Empower Achievement.
The plan includes the following facility changes:
- Move 5th grade into converted Oak Ridge and a new building
- Convert Excelsior into combined 8/9 building
- Update/renovate Bowman Woods, Indian Creek, and Wilkins
- Single unified high school
The district hired OPN Architects in late December to conduct assessments of these buildings and work with the district to set priorities and make recommendations that will inform the language of the bond vote in June. Between the first week of January and late March, architects from OPN and engineers from Design Engineers will evaluate each school while simultaneously forming design concepts for the new building.
As part of these efforts, a group of district parents and staff and community members have been convened to form a Facilities Committee. The group will be tasked with identifying district facility needs and setting priorities, which will inform the steering committee’s proposed plan. Once design concepts and concrete numbers are ready to present, open houses for parents, community members and teachers will be scheduled to solicit additional feedback.
The plan submitted to the school board will include a summary of facility needs as well as solutions and associated costs. The board will then call an election September 12. If the bond is successful, design of the new building and renovations to Excelsior and Oak Ridge would begin immediately with the goal of implementing restructuring for the fall of 2019. Staffing and other logistical decisions would be made simultaneously with the design process. Renovations to the three historic buildings will take place within three to five years post-vote. If the bond is not successful, by state law we would need to wait six months until we would be able to call another election.